CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom laid down the law in his courtroom Thursday and it wasn’t a defendant getting a dressing down. Bloom was dealing with a motion filed by the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office offering one of their attorneys to help out Special Prosecutor Don Morris.

Last week, the prosecutor’s Chief of Staff, Dan Holstein, filed a motion with the court offering Morris help with the domestic-related cases he was assigned to handle after elected Prosecutor Mark Plants and his office were disqualified. Plants still faces charges in two domestic misdemeanors of his own. In that motion, Holstein called Morris’ pay of $200 an hour “excessive.”

During Thursday’s hearing to consider the motion, Bloom did not mince words.

“We are not seeking to meddle,” said Holstein.

“Well you are! In fact, in fact you are,” fumed Bloom. “You have criticized it is grossly inappropriate the compensation of the special prosecutor!”

“Your honor,” added Holstein. “I filed a corrective motion this morning and I realize….”

“I understand you did that,” said Bloom. “I got it about 10 minutes ago and I was really impressed with that being done 10 minutes ago!”

Holstein said he misspoke by using the word “excessive” and changed it to “inequitable” in the motion he filed Thursday morning. That wording didn’t sit well with the judge either.

“Again that is a totally inappropriate comment. It is totally inappropriate. It borders on ethical considerations,” stormed Bloom.

The judge wasn’t the only one who commented on the filing. Morris angrily defended himself.

“I don’t get mad and I don’t expect a personal apology and I don’t want one,” stressed Morris. ” What I’m upset about is the integrity of the special prosecutor has been attacked by these pleadings. In my opinion, they were done to direct attention away from Mr. Plants problems because a couple days before the county commission was talking about filing a removal petition against him because of the cost of the special prosecutor, then suddenly we have this memorandum filed.”

But Morris got really angry when he looked Plants’ direction.

“I spent hours preparing a response to this. That could have been given to the victims of this county,” said Morris. “Hours responding to an accusation…You can sit there and smirk all you want Mark. It’s not funny! There’s nothing funny about this! The problem was caused by Mr. Plants’ personal actions which caused his office to be taken off hundreds of criminal cases.”

Holstein renewed his offer for a member of Plants’ staff to join Morris on the special prosecutorial team to help him deal with the dozens of cases Morris is handling. Morris’ response was non-committal.

“I would love to have some help,  judge. I’m going to have to think about it. Obviously the independence of the office is the most important thing right now,” said Morris.

Judge Bloom made it clear he was leaving it up to Morris to decide whether to accept the help or not and urged Plants’ office to back off.

After the hearing, Plants spoke briefly to the press outside the courtroom when questioned whether he planned to resign from office.

“I have no intention of sticking around a year and costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s not going to happen. We have to see how my criminal cases work out and if they’re dismissed in a short amount of time, then it will work out for me,” stated Plants. “I have no intention of sticking around for years, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a taxpayer, I’m appalled by that.”

The county commission’s initial bill from Morris was approximately $24,000.

Plants refused to comment on any other aspects of the case.

He was charged earlier this year with allegedly violating a protective order gained by his ex-wife. He was then charged with domestic battery after using a belt to discipline his son, leaving a bruise.

The charges would be dismissed in 2015 under a pre-trial diversion agreed to last month but now that agreement has been called illegal. The special magistrate handling the case has a hearing scheduled for later this month.

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  • Buck

    The special prosecutor compensation issue could be easily solved by simply charging admission to this carnival.

  • WhgFeeling

    Takes no responsibility but forces responsibility on others......Plants = hypocrite

  • The Answer

    Due time, due time folks Dollar Danny and King Carper are about to make their move.

    • BS

      That will be the 3rd ring in this circus when those two clowns get involved

  • Ginger Sands

    I do not know why this man has not ben fired anyone else would be in jail over domesitc violence instead this county proceeds to let him get away with it and pays someone else and him to do his job. Costing the taxpayers is what this is.

    • BS

      Why don't you ask yourself if you should be fired and imprisoned because your ex-spouse made an accusation that has not been proven in court.

    • JustaFan

      It's an elected position. They can't just fire him.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Tune in tomorrow for another episode of "As the Stomach Turns".

    Disgusting, isn't it?

    • sammy


    • The bookman


  • Gary Karstens

    In the words of the great Michael Moore: "Mr. Plants, SHAME ON YOU!!!!"

    I am glad to see the presence of Danny Jones at the meeting today. He is taking up for his officers and their fine work.

    Things are starting to heat up. This one is 99.99% over.

    • The Truth

      That would be the kettle calling the frying pan black if 2 IQ points Danny would complain about wasting taxpayer money, considering all the frivolous lawsuits he's filed on behalf of the city of Charleston

    • BS

      C'mon you know you want to somehow blame this on all the guns that are out there

    • Aaron

      Great Michael Moore. I nearly peed myself laughing. You should take that act on the road.

  • zero tolerance

    Lawyers regulating lawyers. What a dance at the taxpayers expense.

  • Aaron

    "We have to see how my criminal cases work out and if they’re dismissed in a short amount of time, then it will work out for me,” stated Plants. “

    "The charges would be dismissed in a year under a pre-trial diversion agreed to last month but now that agreement has been called illegal. The special magistrate handling the case has a year scheduled for later this month."

    He's a prosecutor. Unless he's brokered some sort of deal, he knows these charges aren't just going to go away.

    Do taxpayers a favor and leave Mr. Plants.